I recently discovered that I had the Celebrity Recognition Skills (CRS) of a cavewoman. I confronted this nasty character flaw while I was hanging out in Beverly Hills, California visiting my friend, celebrity hairdresser, Ken Paves.
While I was hanging out in the famous Starbucks on Robertson a virtual parade of famous names and faces wandered by. I was completely oblivious until the celeb watcher sitting behind me kept excitedly nudging me pointing out the most recent Starbucks star studded arrival.
The exasperated star watcher finally gave up on me when she realized I was totally clueless about the big names ordering an array of lattes. I made a hasty retreat from the java joint and wandered in a daze down Robertson pausing for a moment outside the Ivy which was teaming with paparazzi. If there were celebrities right in front of me, I would never have known.
Which is exactly what happened when I had the fabulous good fortune to unexpectedly meet Carmella DeCesare. I immediately liked this sweet, charming and outrageously gorgeous woman. She had a warm and engaging smile that lit up her perfectly shaped face and deep chocolate brown eyes. Her thick, blatantly healthy hair, was a shade of glossy deep blue black and gently cascaded down around her shoulders generating pure shimmer.
After chatting with her briefly, off and on for almost two days, I started to be aware of the fact that she looked familiar. I wracked my celebrity recognition challenged brain trying to figure out where I might have seen her before but I just couldn't piece it all together. She was so friendly and engaging she put me instantly at ease. It certainly seemed unlikely to me that she could be a famous celebrity.
Even though this woman is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, she didn't seem to know how stunning she really was. Which made me feel so comfortable chatting with her. I honestly felt that she was interested in what I had to say. She was so real and down to earth and kind. Carmella possessed a gentle spirit.
A Celebrity Right In Front Of Me!
After trying my hardest to figure out if Carmella was someone I should know I casually mentioned that she "looked familiar" to me.
She smiled a shy smile and told me that I might have seen her on the cover of Playboy Magazine.
Carmella explained "she had been the Playmate of The Month in 2003" and, oh yeah, "Playmate of the Year for 2004". Her photo had been on the cover of the June 2004 issue. WOW. I was impressed.
Although I randomly look at Playboy from time to time, I didn't remember that particular issue.
I asked Carmella if she had stayed at the Playboy Mansion because I had caught the reality shows about Hef's girlfriends - Girls Next Door. Carmella explained she had "appeared on some of the shows and had been featured on one of the shows for her birthday party".
In fact, she mentioned that Hef's girls are "all very good friends". A light bulb went off and I actually remembered seeing Carmella on the show. I asked her where her birthday party show was set and she said it was filmed in Las Vegas. And it was "so much fun".
The AHA factor kicked in full force and I remembered that I had read about her on the web and found it fascinating how she made her way from local modeling at age 16 (July 1, 1982) in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (Avon Lake) to the bright lights of Los Angeles, where she currently resides.
Whipping out my trusty notepad and pen I asked if I could interview her on the spot. "OK" she smiled graciously.
From Ohio To Hollywood
Explaining that she started modeling when she was just 16 years old, Carmella went on to say that she had the good fortune of being one of the 12 finalists in Hugh Hefner's Girl Next Door: The Search For A Playboy Centerfold show. Once she was on the reality playmate search show, as the buzz goes, she felt uncomfortable and decided to leave the show.
The judges and Hef were so blown away by her beauty and sad at her departure, that she was given another chance to audition for a Playmate spot despite the fact that she quit the original venue. The rest, as they say, is history as she first snagged the Playmate of the Month and then of the Year.
I asked Carmella what it was like to be a Playmate and she said it was "one of the best experiences of her life" but also "nerve wracking at the same time".
Although Carmella said that being a Playmate had "really changed her life in so many ways and opened up so many career opportunities", she also confided that during her first year she was "constantly on planes flying around to do publicity appearances and other Playboy related work".
While the "Playboy pictorial got her lots of work" and it "was lots of fun, it was also very grueling".
Being a model, she explained, is "ultimately about your looks and not about your talent or what you can contribute from an actor's viewpoint".
Eva Longoria's Long Lost Sister
During the course of our "official" interview I told her that it was amazing how much she looked like Eva Longoria. "So many people say that" Carmella agreed. And indeed, the more I stared at her, the more I saw the close resemblance to Eva. Carmella has the same thick glossy black hair, same dark exotic looks and killer body. Just like the Texas "housewife".
I inquired if it bothered her that people thought she looked like Eva's twin. "No" she smiled, "I am very flattered". Pushing ahead I suggested that Mark Cherry and the rest of the folks from Desperate Housewives should snap her up for a guest role as Eva's long lost sister.
Long Term Goals
Making the constant rounds of casting calls, Carmella confirmed her goal is to ultimately "move from modeling and posing to acting, maybe in a soap or something with more security." She agreed that she would "absolutely love a chance to have a guest spot on the hit ABC Housewives show".
I told her that I wished that I had a cell phone number for Mark Cherry because I would personally call him and let him know that his next ratings spike was ready and willing to appear on the show. Carmella would be a perfect foil for Eva's character. And she really does look like her long lost sister with her Puerto Rican/Italian family lineage.
Carmella agreed that she would "absolutely love a chance to have a guest spot on the hit ABC show". Indeed, Carmella would be a perfect foil for Eva's character. It is almost scary how much she really looks like the Desperate Housewife's long lost sister.
Although Carmella obviously enjoys modeling and "loves to do print work", she confided that the "competition for jobs in Hollywood is fierce" and that at casting calls you see lines of "girls that are 15 on a 10 scale". After all, "it's all about your looks and you either have the look that they want or not".
Even though Carmella takes eye popping photos, she realizes the importance of taking steps to secure better opportunities for herself. With acting goals in mind Carmella has been studying and working very diligently with a private coach so that eventually she can be booked into more acting jobs. In fact, besides the four episodes that she has done for Hef's Girls Next Door reality show about his girls, she is currently filming a movie.
Although I was fascinated with Carmella's exciting celebrity lifestyle, my focus shifted to her hair. I confirmed that her below the shoulder strands were not extensions and "all her own tresses".
She said that she goes to "Bob Roy's Salon in Manhatten Beach", near where she lives and that "Mazon currently cuts and styles" her gorgeous strands.
Although her hair is "naturally thick" it also "holds a curl well". She does hot iron it when she wants it to be completely "straight" since it does have "a little natural wave".
Her absolute "favorite shampoo is Frederic Fekkai's Vanilla Protein Shampoo" and "any good leave-in product" as well as "any shine serum" that will make her beautiful hair "glossy and super shiny".
Carmella Decesare is an exotic beauty finding her way in the wild, wacky and highly competitive world of Hollywood. She has thick lush shimmering blue black tresses which frame her stunning face.
Even more importantly, Carmella is not just a pretty face. Carmella is intelligent, well educated, sweet and most importantly a kind and generous person.
The lovely Carmella married Football Player Jeff Garcia in April 2007. There's no questions Jeff is a very lucky guy.
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- Revised Publication Date: 04/19/11